Book Reviews

Counterpoint, Dylan's Story by Ruth Sims at Dreamspinner Press

Genre Gay / Historical / 19th Century / Artists/Actors/Musicians/Authors / New Adult / Romance / Drama
Reviewed by Alan Chin (Guest Reviewer) on 07-September-2010

Book Blurb

At eighteen Dylan Rutledge has one obsession: music. He believes his destiny is to be the greatest composer of the rapidly approaching twentieth century. Only Laurence Northcliff, a young history master at The Venerable Bede School for Young Gentlemen, believes in Dylan's talent and encourages his dream, not realizing Dylan is in love with him. But Dylan's passion and belief in his future come at a high price. They will alienate him from his family and lead him on a rocky path fraught with disappointment, rejection, and devastating loss that kills his dream. A forbidden love could bring the dream back to life and rescue Dylan from despair and bitterness, but does he have the courage to reach out and take it? Will he deny the music that rules his soul?

Book Review

When all others turn against Dylan for the wild and unorthodox music he composes, Northcliff is the only one who encourages his dream. The two fall deeply in love, but it is a forbidden love in England, punishable by long prison terms at hard labor

But Dylan’s passion will not be put down. He alienates himself from family, friends, and country when he moves to Paris to study music and live openly as Northcliff’s lover. Although he finds happiness in the arms of Northcliff, he pays a heavy price being out, even in Paris. At every turn, his career is fraught with disappointment, rejection, and eventually a devastating loss that shreds his soul. Can his music bring him back from the brink? Can the love of a man be the strength he needs to survive?

This book is a joy to read. The story is well structured, the characters are compelling, the prose carries the reader along in a dream. I knew before opening the cover page that Ruth Sims has a gift for storytelling. I found that out in her book, The Phoenix. But Counterpoint is far and away a superior, more thoughtful read. Sims has created something rare, an absorbing read that takes the reader through the entire range of emotions, and then back again.

Does it have flaws? There is the occasional head hopping. There are several opportunities where showing, rather than telling, would strengthened the read. There are other places where the dialog is too on-the-nose. But these minor issues go unnoticed as the reader wraps these characters around himself like a cloak on a cold night, and feels their passion and pain. Upon finishing the last page I wanted to stand, clap my hands and yell, “BRAVO.”

This story was several years coming to print, and well worth the wait. If you’re looking for the kind of hot erotic scenes that have become so cliché in mm fiction today, then keep looking. But for anyone who enjoys passionate characters struggling with basic human needs, alluring prose, and historical detail, then I highly recommend this read.

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook and print
Length Novel, 332 pages/108110 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 12-July-2010
Price $6.99 ebook, $17.99 paperback, $17.99 bundle
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